Oklahoma Inmate Indicted for Orchestrating Drug and Firearms Conspiracies Using Contraband Cellphones

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

An inmate who used contraband cell phones to lead a methamphetamine distribution operation has been charged along with five others in federal court, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.

Richard Deeter, Jr. was charged with directing a continuing criminal enterprise from prison. Deeter along with Donald Pearson, Jonna Steele, Johnny Sparks, Izabella Boling, and Nicole Cox, were charged in a 43-count indictment with taking part in drug and firearms conspiracies that included the trafficking of methamphetamine and the use of firearms to further their drug operation.

“This case demonstrates how the use of contraband cell phones within prisons fuels violent crime in communities across our state,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “My office is committed to working together with our law enforcement partners to thwart the use of contraband cell phones and hold accountable those individuals operating large scale criminal conspiracies from behind prison walls.”

Deeter allegedly directed the purchase and pick up of bulk quantities of methamphetamine from Oklahoma City for the purpose of redistributing the drug within the Northern District of Oklahoma. Deeter and his coconspirators utilized Facebook messenger, video calls, text messaging, encrypted instant messaging, and other methods to conduct operations. The indictment alleges he communicated with his coconspirators and others about where to pick up the methamphetamine, drug pricing, and to whom the drug would be sold. Deeter accepted payment from coconspirators and drug customers through the use of Green Dot cards and Cash App. He is also alleged to have  directed the use of firearms to further the drug operation and the collection of drug debts. The conspirators kept residences in Tulsa for storing the guns and methamphetamine.

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According to the indictment, criminal acts conducted as part of the conspiracy are:

-In November 2021, Deeter had a phone conversation asking an individual to find someone who could pilot a drone for the purposes of smuggling contraband into prison.

-In December 2021, Deeter sent a text message to an individual with a list of people who owed him money. On that list was Michael Johnson. Deeter directed an individual to collect the debt by stealing Johnson’s car. During the Jan. 5, 2022, attempt to collect the debt, Johnson was shot and killed.

-In June 2021, Deeter directed an individual to travel to Oklahoma City to purchase approximately 5 to 7 kilograms of methamphetamine. The next month, he directed the same individual to travel to the city to purchase 14 kilograms of methamphetamine.

-In July 2021, Deeter directed an individual to find someone to shave the heads and eyebrows of two women who owed him money.

-In November 2021, Deeter allegedly messaged Boling asking her to sell approximately 13 firearms over Facebook Messenger for a total price of $5,000.

-From November to December 2021, Deeter directed an individual to store firearms at a residence located at 1815 N. Atlanta Place in Tulsa. During that time, Deeter also used a cell phone, including video calls, to direct the same individual to trade methamphetamine for firearms.

-In November 2021, Deeter arranged for a Universal Aryan Brotherhood member to deliver a 12-gauge break open shotgun to the same residence to hide the firearm from police.

-In September and October 2021, Deeter paid rent for 1814 N. Atlanta Place in the form of counterfeit oxycodone pills, which contained fentanyl.

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*An indictment is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Defendants are charged as followed:

Richard Deeter Jr., 44, residing in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester: continuing criminal enterprise (Count 1); felon in possession of a firearm (Counts 2,3) Firearms Conspiracy (Count 5); drug conspiracy (Count 6); use of a communication facility in committing, causing, and facilitating the commission of a drug trafficking felony (Counts 7-29, 31-39); possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Count 40, 42); possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute (count 43).

Donnie Pearson, 36, of Sand Springs: felon in possession of a firearm (Count 4); firearms conspiracy (Count 5); drug conspiracy (Count 6), use of a communication facility in committing, causing, and facilitating the commission of a drug trafficking felony (Count 30).

Jonna Steele, 37, of Tulsa: firearms conspiracy (Count 5); drug conspiracy (Count 6); use of a communication facility in committing, causing, and facilitating the commission of a drug trafficking felony (Count 16, 18).

Johnny Sparks, 34, of Tulsa: drug conspiracy (Count 6); possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute (Count 41).

Izabella Boling, 25, of Broken Arrow: firearms conspiracy (Count 5); drug conspiracy (Count 6); possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute (Count 43).

Nicole Cox, 26, of Mountain Home, Arkansas: firearms conspiracy (Count 5); drug conspiracy (Count 6); use of a communication facility in committing, causing, and facilitating the commission of a drug trafficking felony (Count 17).

Deeter and Pearson are members of the Universal Aryan Brotherhood.

The prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Tulsa Police Department, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. Nasar is prosecuting the case.